When I browse through the cereal aisle these days I don’t see much in the way of premiums. Once a breakfast staple it seems that in box promotions or even mail away offers are few and far between. Some people claim that it was dangerous to put small toys in a cereal box but I don’t ever recall seeing anyone turning blue because they ate a Cap’n Crunch Magic 8-Ball. Even if that did occur I chalk it up to natural selection. Honestly I believe the death of the cereal premiums is a cost cutting initiative. Same thing goes for Cracker Jack. When I was a kid you might get miniature baseball cards or a monocle out of your box of caramel corn & peanuts. Today on the rare occasion that I do buy the stuff I get some paper printout of Ben Franklin with a trivia question. Whoopie.
In 1990 the world was a much different and better place and Kellogg’s hosted one of the more memorable cereal giveaways of my life. Specially marked boxes of Froot Loops, Apple Jacks, and Smacks included a cut out order form on the back to send away for one of four exclusive LEGO town sets. As a child these sets were “plane, car, boat, and helicopter” but if you want to get technical the real names are #1560 Glory Glider, #1561 Stunt Chopper, #1562 Wave Jumper, and #1563 Track Blaster. The Stunt Chopper was the largest set piece wise logging in at a whopping 31 pieces. The smallest piece count was the Glory Glider at a paltry 22.
The promotion was simple. Buy your preferred Kellogg’s cereal in a specially marked box, cut out the order form, and mail it along with $2.49 for shipping and in the dreaded time frame of 4 to 6 weeks you would receive one of the four sets chosen. In my case Froot Loops was the cereal (I’ve never liked Apple Jacks and Smacks were only passable) and the #1560 Glory Glider was my set of choice. A few weeks after mailing off the promotion when the artificial dyes were finally working their way out of my digestive system my poly-bagged beauty finally arrived. I loved the set so much that I learned to assemble it from scratch on memory in less than a minute.
But things got better. Not long after my set arrived, a second poly-bagged Glory Glider arrived via USPS directly to my mailbox. Apparently one of the employees at the fulfillment center erroneously mailed me two sets when we only paid for one! Jackpot! To this day I still own both sets complete with instructions so I’ve definitely gotten my mother’s $2.49 worth of entertainment from them.
In addition to a nifty vehicle each set came along with a pilot/driver and safety helmet complete with visor. The driver of the Wave Jumper even had a life jacket. After all, you don’t want the kiddos to ignore water safety! Otherwise they were pretty simple and straightforward but they did their job in getting children excited about the product. Its for these reasons that such promotions should still be included today although I’m not sure if kids even play with toys anymore.